BaseballGuru.com's Braintrust Newsletter, May 2002
Friends and Braintrust Subscribers,
It's May and players are settling into there summer rhythms. The Mariners once again look like dominators. Bonds began the season where he left off, smashing homers at an incredible clip. And, after six starts, Randy Johnson is 6-0 with a 1.37 era. So what else is new?
Pitching in the final weekend of April was spectacular. Five starters held opponents hitless into at least the seventh inning. Congratulations goes out to Boston's Derek Lowe, a relief pitcher and spot starter, for completing the no hitter.
Who cares about the MLB outside of American boarders? Apparently millions do. In fact, more than 10 million MLB all-star ballots will be distributed in Canada, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela this year. Ballots will be printed in both Japanese and Spanish.
For those of you who would enjoy getting a witty daily baseball news update in their email, contact Bill Chuck: bill@Billy-Ball.com. Don't forget to tell Bill that the Baseball Guru sent you!
So far, the Central League's total fan turnout is up 6.6% over 2001. That's encouraging news since the scuttlebutt in the MLB is about how 19 teams have had lower attendance so far and that overall attendance is down 4.9%.
Baseball Is in Growing Popularity Outside of the U.S.
Baseball is popping up in the most unexpected places. According to Sankei Sports, with an eye to the 2008 Olympics, main land China is going to inaugurate its first professional league on March 28, 2003 in hopes of developing a national team good enough to make it to the top four in the Olympic baseball tournament. Here's the link for the complete article http://baseballguru.com/ggarland/analysisggarland02.html
And, apparently baseball in North Korea is expanding in earnest (here's the link to the full article http://baseballguru.com/ggarland/analysisggarland12.html). George W. Bush called them part of the "Axis of Evil." As much as I would like to see their government toppled, I revel in the fact that the citizens there love baseball. Maybe there's hope for this crazy mixed up world yet.
Speaking of Fantasies
Through the end of April, The Baseball Guru finds itself settled into 4th place out of the twelve teams in the FSRU.com "expert" rotisserie league. As expected, the competition is tough. The guru feels good to be in the running early on. Anyone interested in following the progress of this public league or who just wants to see how each web site drafted can check it out here or using this link http://baseball.tqstats.com/fsicnl/index.html
Meanwhile, if you have not yet registered for the Guru's Fantasy Baseball Challenge, it's not too late. Playing will keep you interested all season long. As a team coach working with a salary cap, you select the players you want each week. Cash prizes too! Here's the link: http://www.allamerica.com/baseballguru/
Another way to enhance your enjoyment of baseball this season is to bookmark the Fantasy Insider page http://baseballguru.com/bbinside.html if for no other reason than it has half a dozen links to various live scoreboards, which will enable you to watch ALL of the games live, simultaneously for free! Plus it has current news updated about every 15 minutes in the left hand column.
Legends of Sports
We want to thank Nic Antoine, a sports fan and researcher, who belongs to several sports research organizations including SABR and PFRA for continuing to mention The Baseball Guru in his newsletter to hundreds of interested baseball fans. Get on Nic's mailing list and once a month and you'll learn about baseball research that is not easily available otherwise. Email him at Nantoine@sbcglobal.net.
On the Subject of Hard to Find Baseball Analysis
Inside the Guru's analysis section this month: Find out about Bert Shepard and his missing foot. Read about famous Negro League brawls. New light was shed on Bullet Joe Rogan. Was he one of the greatest players of all time? Who was the slugger who wore skirts? Answers to these questions and more were revealed in John B. Holway's latest articles. Here's the link http://www.baseballguru.com/jholway/
Don't miss Mike McCann's latest article on the best minor league pitching performances of 2001. Here's the link http://www.baseballguru.com/bunko/ and don't be afraid to email him with your questions about minor league baseball.
Plus, relive one of the baseball's most memorable seasons (1972) by following the daily "Memories of the Mustache Gang." You are welcome to email Bruce Markusen directly at with any question or comments you have on the team or the season.
Anyone who would like to contribute commentary, photos, articles, experiences or whatever may submit them for online publication by emailing me. You don't have to be a Guru to make a valuable and interesting contribution.
An Introduction to Japanese Baseball
Fans in the U.S. would have no trouble recognizing baseball in Japan but there are exciting differences. There are two six teams leagues, the Central and the Pacific forming the Nippon Professional Baseball League (NPB). The Pacific League uses a DH, while the Central League does not. The winner of each league meets in the Japan Series to determine the champion. They also have all-star games with players voted on by the fans and they give awards to players for outstanding play.
It may seem obvious, but Japan is not a sprawling country like America. It does not have enough large cities to accommodate one team per city. Most teams play in or around Tokyo or Osaka. Most stadiums don't even have parking. Fortunately, they are accessible by subway. Because of their relative proximity, fans of each team can see them play live on the road, most of the time. Unfortunately, this means that people living in the countryside would not likely attend games and have no home team. To address this problem, all teams play 10-15 of their home games on the road, where rural dwellers can see the games in person. These small, remote parks do not have electronic scoreboards and often do not have lights to accommodate night games. It is an intimate experience.
To read the rest of this article in its unabridged form, go to http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/japanesebaseballprimer.htm
We are extremely proud to present other exceptional articles, photos of the parks and endless Japanese baseball stats as part of the growing Japanese Insider. Gary Garland also expanded the daily updates section to include a piece called, "This Day in Japanese Baseball History" along with trivia questions, interesting tidbits and news articles from other sources and box scores of every game rewritten in English.
I want to publicly thank Jim Albright and Gary Garland for their devotion and boundless energy on this project. In terms of both daily and historical coverage of Japanese baseball, The Baseball Guru is now absolutely the best place to go.
And, the progress continues. Jim expects to add new leader boards, franchise all-stars selections and more info on the history of the game in Japan.
As you've gathered, presenting all of this Japanese content to you in English is a major challenge. We are proud to give it as a free service. Please pass along the word out about it. It won't catch on without your assistance! Here's the link http://baseballguru.com/bbjp1.html
As for IBM-BIS (the official site of Japanese Baseball), we are dismayed to report that they've changed the site, and have made it even less user friendly than before for English speakers. They don't give ten percent of the data you'd expect from the official site. We wish they would do more for American fans, especially since they have the means.
Back to America and Baseball History
The set of the Best Players of the Dead Ball Era (1901-1919) are ready for The Guru's Famous Game!
Pitchers were at a premium and there were many great ones to be found, including Walter Johnson and Cy Young. Games were low scoring and very few home runs were hit. Strategy was very important. Use of the hit and run, squeeze play and base stealing was the norm. Speed and high batting averages were king, ala Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner.
In 1919, Babe Ruth did double duty as a regular outfielder and starting pitcher for the Red Sox. In doing so, he simultaneously pitched 12 complete games with a 2.97 era and belted a whopping 29 home runs, shattering the previous record of 21. It was the most valuable season recorded in modern history, worth $3,267 in scale dollars, ahead of Walter Johnson's $3,188 (he was an A+ starter who could go the distance!).
The top eight players at each position were chosen from each league. That makes 80 infielders, 48 outfielders and 144 pitchers. Draft all-star teams and play the NL versus the AL.
Browse the other card sets available or use this link http://baseballguru.com/bbboardgame.html
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